This absurd story is probably an accurate-enough account of the absurd world of movie-making. Where a near-mad director squanders studio money while proclaiming, "I am an artist working in a corrupt and brutal system." And where the studio executive says of that director, "Actually, she loves everything about movies I do--power fights, career gambles, killer hustlers, creative stuff, happy endings, money and glamour."
Most Hollywood novels describe a movie in production to serve as a contrapuntal metaphor to the main action. Here, Carol the producer is making a religious film, "where finally Jesus will be somebody Jews can identify with," which is shown in a way that is disturbing rather than revealing. The project seems hopeless, with self-destructive cynics responsible for it. Responsible? One yearns for any up-tight, hard-working professional. Have they all left town, taking the "Hollywood" sign with them?
All the characters in the book have that fatal film maker's disease: the belief that they are better than their medium. "He wasn't always a Hollywood wheeler-dealer. He's a very serious person and he's surrounded by vipers," Carol says of a former lover. And she envies a woman doctor who doesn't have to "hustle and connive to get her way." They agonize over what they are doing in a business where everyone else is immoral and crazy, when they are so smart and good.